Phandroid » Google TV Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Sat, 01 Aug 2015 05:49:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Google’s official YouTube app will cease to work on the earliest Google TV devices Tue, 21 Apr 2015 14:36:07 +0000 logitech-revue-bling

Folks still rocking some of the original Google TV devices — such as the Logitech Revue and Sony’s Google TV box — will find themselves out of a YouTube app the next time they go to use their devices. Google has moved on to using their newest YouTube APIs, and only those who can update to certain recent versions of the YouTube app will be supported.

The problem is that many of the devices that haven’t moved on from Google TV software versions 1 and 2 have no way of getting a more recent version of the app. As such, they’ll either need to upgrade to newer devices or use the HTML5 version of YouTube from their web browser. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the sort of stuff you often have to deal with if you aren’t interested in upgrading.

You can check which version of Google TV your device has by heading to Settings > Customer Support > Android Version. If you have 3 or 4, great — head to Google Play and make sure you have the latest YouTube update. Otherwise you should probably start thinking about your options for upgrading to something more contemporary.

[via Google]

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Google puts the final nail in Google TV’s coffin Tue, 06 Jan 2015 21:44:55 +0000 google-tv-thumb

Google TV is officially dead. Long live Android TV.

The writing has been on the wall for Google TV for a long time. It was not a successful venture for Google, but it did teach them a lot. They used those lesson to create Android TV, a much more refined and simplistic approach to set-top boxes. Earlier today Google finally announced the inevitable: most Google TV devices will not be updated again.

A small subset of Google TV devices will be updated to Android TV, but most Google TV devices won’t support the new platform.

Google did not name the specific Google TV devices that will be updated to Android TV. Our hunch is that it will be some of the Hisense devices that launched last year with “Android TV v4″ software. If you’re still rocking a Google TV device all of the features and apps should continue to function.

Do you still have a Google TV device? Will you be replacing it with an Android TV device? Perhaps Sony’s new Bravia 900 TV?


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YouTube for TV app set to get revamped for Android TV Fri, 15 Aug 2014 14:24:58 +0000

Android TV — the platform that we hope will do for us what Google TV could not — isn’t readily available, but that doesn’t mean Google isn’t working on getting it ready to go for its eventual launch later this year. The first move they’ve made is to upgrade the YouTube app to be more easy to use on the big screen.

The app’s overhaul is more visual than functional, though that does go a long way to providing a quality experience. What you’ll get is an interface similar to that of the desktop site’s — a left sidebar gives you quick and easy access to subscriptions, playlists, history, uploads and more. And if none of that is doing it for you, there’s always the search function.

youtube for tv

They’re also putting more emphasis on individual channel pages, so instead of stumbling through a list of unorganized videos, you’ll be able to see all your favorite Youtubers’ content ass they’ve laid it out for you. The only thing I can say is “it’s about time.”

So how can you try it right now? Buy an Xbox One. The app is already being previewed on Microsoft’s latest console, but if you don’t have one and have no plans on buying one it should be finding its way to other platforms and set-top boxes in the weeks to come. The video above can give you an idea of what to expect in case you don’t have the means to give it a whirl yourself.

[via Google]

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Deal: Grab the Amazon Fire TV for $15 off Wed, 13 Aug 2014 18:59:49 +0000 amazonfiretvhomescreen

If you’ve been eyeing the Amazon Fire TV as a possible addition to your home entertainment setup you’ll want to take heed of Amazon’s latest deal. They’re knocking $15 off its price to celebrate a “boatload of new apps,” bringing the set-top box down to a respectable $84. Amazon Fire TV gives you quick and easy access to Amazon’s ecosystem or music, movies and TV shows, as well as multimedia apps from various third party sources and games from the Amazon Appstore.

Amazon’s prideful accomplishment comes from the second screen experience that can be had with an accompanying Amazon Kindle Fire tablet, a feature that gives you more info on the movies and TV show you’re viewing without having to do much work to dig it up yourself.

For hardware, the device features a quad-core chipset, 2GB of RAM, dual-band WiFi, HDMI-out, support for Dolby Digital Plus surround sound and more. Add a $40 gaming controller and you’ve got yourself a pretty slick piece of kit that can keep you entertained for quite a while. Be sure to take advantage of the deal at Amazon’s site before it dissipates.

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Amazon announces Flappy Birds Family exclusivity for Fire TV, as well as Disney, WWE and MLB TV apps Mon, 04 Aug 2014 16:13:26 +0000 Flappy Birds Family

Last week we found that a version of Flappy Bird by Dot Gears had been uploaded to Amazon’s Appstore. It went by the name of “Flappy Birds Family,” though it was only available for download if you own an Amazon Fire TV. Now we know why — the game has made its exclusive debut for the TV platform as announced by Amazon this morning. That means not even Amazon Kindle Fire tablet owners

Flappy Birds Family is a pretty faithful copy of the original mobile game that took the world by storm before its disappearance, except now you can play from the comfort of your couch using Amazon’s gaming controller or the included remote control. The game doesn’t feature any new features or gameplay elements over the original, so we imagine the whole “Family” thing is to reflect how easy it is to play with your family instead of having to huddle around a smartphone or tablet (not that Flappy Bird is our first choice for family fun, but we’ll go with it).


Amazon also announced a few new apps that should please a wide crowd of folks. Watch Disney and Watch Disney Jr are both on board, as well as the WWE Network, MLB.TV and Animal Planet Live. On the way by the end of this year are the following:

  • WATCH ABC Family
  • NFL Now
  • A&E
  • Lifetime
  • Outside TV
  • Young Hollywood
  • North Face TV
  • Fashion TV
  • Green TV
  • Dailymotion

Sounds like you won’t have any problem finding something you like if you opt into the Fire TV bandwagon. Let us know if you’re looking forward to one of these as a Fire TV owner (and if you’ll be picking one up if you don’t have one already).

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Could rollable phones (and TVs) be the next flip phone? Thu, 10 Jul 2014 03:24:29 +0000 There was a time when flip phones ruled the world… just ask Motorola. Those are long gone, but LG is working on the next generation of screen technology that could make rollable phones the next most highly coveted genre of smart phone.

Flexible (Rollable) OLED_01

If you don’t think that’s awesome, you must be amish.

The new technology shown above is actually an 18-inch flexible OLED display made by LG that was just announced and has the potential to revolutionize what we consider today as “pocketable” or “wearable” tech. This large screen can be rolled up into a toilet paper style cylinder that’s only 3cm in radius, has a resolution of 1200×810, and packs almost 1 million pixels.

LG has positioned this tech in terms of televisions, claiming that the company could even make a 50-inch TV of this kind in the future. I can picture it now:

  • Boy: Hey Mom, wheres the TV?
  • Mom: Not sure, dad was using it last.
  • Dad: Check between the couch cushions!

This technology could arrive sooner than you think, with LG aiming for release of a 60-inch rollable TV by 2017.

We are confident that by 2017, we will successfully develop an Ultra HD flexible and transparent OLED panel of more than 60 inches, which will have transmittance of more than 40 percent and a curvature radius of 100R, thereby leading the future display market

Transparent OLED

Flexible (Rollable) OLED_02

The lateral move to bring this technology from TVs to phones, tablets, and other screens won’t be easy; there’s a lot of underlying modules and hardware in these devices that could make engineering them more difficult. But where there’s a will there’s a way, and based on what we’re seeing above, LG is going to get there.

Remember the good ‘ol days when families would eat breakfast together, dad would finish his cereal, roll up his newspaper, clamp it under his armpit, kiss the wife and kids goodbye and rush off to work? They might be coming back… only that newspaper will be made by LG and there will be just as many moms following suit.

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Android TV unboxing and first look: specs, pictures, and more [VIDEO] Thu, 26 Jun 2014 19:22:33 +0000

Say goodbye to Google TV and hello to the wonder you see us groping in the video above. Android TV is a renaissance of Google’s first stab at the smart TV market. While we won’t be seeing any consumer products until we head closer to the end of this year, developers have already been treated to units of the ADT-1, Android TV’s first development platform device.


One of the things early Google TV devices were chastised for was under-performing specs. The lackluster internals made for sluggish experiences (so much so that some of them became flat-out unusable after a while). Thankfully Google has looked to remedy that as they came out the gate strong with some pretty impressive specs:

  • Tegra 4 chipset
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB of internal storage
  • 2×2 MIMO dual-channel WiFi
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Ethernet Port
  • HDMI port
  • Android L Developer Preview

The device is fully unlocked out of the box, natch, so Google’s inviting developers to go nuts and come up with anything they can to help get this platform ready for launch later this year. It’s far too early to tell what the result of such openness will be, but we have a feeling it won’t take long for developers to pour their heart, soul and code into these boxes.

Software and Features

Android TV appears to be quite simple at its core. It takes on a lot of the same qualities Google TV had: it combines live television with internet video sources such as Netflix, Hulu and YouTube to give you access to nearly anything you’d want to watch at a moment’s notice.


All of that will leverage voice commands, search and Google’s Knowledge Graph to help you find what you are looking for and learn everything about it with ease. Not lost on us is the much improved user interface that presents all your content in a way that’s very pleasing to the eye, and it’s easy enough to zip around said interface thanks to the capable hardware sitting inside.

Where Android TV steps things up a notch — nay, a ton — is the department of games.  One of the important things they wanted to do from the starting gate was build games into the platform in a way that developers won’t even have to think about porting their wares over to the big screen.

This includes integration with the Google Play Games platform for access to achievements, leaderboards and multiplayer gaming. We saw examples of gaming with controllers to give folks a console-esque experience, and with that powerful Tegra 4 chipset inside this could turn out to be a very versatile piece of equipment.


Google also mentioned that the platform would have “Cast” capabilities, so the ability to beam music, movies, photos and even mirror your Android phone or tablet’s display should add a lot to the experience. Needless to say this should prove to be a much more useful, usable and exciting package than Google TV was in its infancy, and it’ll be exciting to see what future iterations bring us.


In case you were wondering how the ADT-1 and its controller looks from every angle this handy photo gallery should do the trick:

android-tv-pic2 android-tv-pic android-tv-game-remote12 android-tv-game-remote11 android-tv-game-remote10 android-tv-game-remote9 android-tv-game-remote8 android-tv-game-remote7 android-tv-game-remote6 android-tv-game-remote5 android-tv-game-remote4 android-tv-game-remote3 android-tv-game-remote2 android-tv-game-remote androidtv-box-dusty androidtv-box-bottom androidtv-box androidtb-box2

Will you buy one?

So after Google’s second (and seemingly successful) attempt at the smart TV game — will you buy one? Granted, you won’t be able to get the ADT-1, but we should see manufacturers start to push out set-top boxes and televisions with Android TV built-in by this holiday season. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Android TV announced as Google’s next evolution of the smart television Wed, 25 Jun 2014 17:35:35 +0000 android TV 1

Ever since the announcement of Google TV at I/O 2010, Google’s aim with their Android-based smart television platform was fuzzy at best. Today things become a bit clearer with the introduction of Android TV, an evolution of the concept that strips away some of the more ambitious features of Google TV and rolls the remainder into the newly-announced Android ‘L’ SDK, streamlining the platforms and making sure TV isn’t left behind.

Google TV debuted with several hardware partners in tow, Logitech and Sony in particular showing up big for the launch. Over the next several months the initiative seemed to slip further and further out of Google’s plans despite several promising hardware options reaching market as well as strides on the software front. At times, Google TV seemed destined to go the way of other short-lived products like the Nexus Q.

Android TV more or less starts from scratch, but it isn’t that unlike what was initially offered with Google TV. The platform will still be available as a software SDK that can be deployed by any manufacturer, it integrates live TV with downloadable and streamed content, and it incorporates search and viewing suggestions to reveal new content for viewers.

android TV

Games will also be a huge part of Android TV, taking advantage of the large library of titles found in the Google Play Store and syncing with Google Play leaderboards and friends. Because the SDK branches out from Android ‘L,’ it will be easier than ever for developers to get their apps and games on as many screens as possible

Android TV will also work in conjunction with Android implementations found on other devices, including smartphone and wearable apps, as well as Chromecast-like functionality to “cast” content from a tablet direct to television.

android TV 4

Sony, Sharp, and other manufacturers are already committed to the inclusion of Android TV in their upcoming HDTV lineups. But we’ve seen this story before. Manufacturing partners do not guarantee success, but Google’s new approach to television looks to be based on some hard lessons learned from their initial attempts with Google TV.


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Report: Google to unveil Android TV at Google I/O, new details revealed Fri, 30 May 2014 20:03:08 +0000 Android TV Movies

It’s been a fair amount of time since we last heard talk of “Android TV.” Back in early April we saw things pick up steam after receiving a few leaked screenshots from the upcoming OS, another effort by Google to bring Android to the living room. There weren’t very many details, but today the folks at GigaOM have obtained new information on Google’s Android TV project, giving us a better idea of what to expect when it’s finally unveiled at this year’s Google I/O 2014.

Once again, Google is banking on creating a platform for television manufacturers to bake into their wares, just like Google’s first effort with Google TV. But aside from pay-TV services and applications, Android TV’s killer feature will be gaming — something the Chromecast simply isn’t equipped for.

Google is calling the user interface “Pano,” and it allows users to scroll horizontally through movies and shows which are linked to apps and services. This means instead of opening an app like Netflix for something to watch, the content from all these apps is already displayed as soon as you turn on the TV. A recently leaked changelog for Android 4.4.3 revealed a ton of references to Pano, so it’s entirely possible we’ll see the new firmware update launch during I/O as well.

There’s a lot of questions that pop up with Android TV and one is why Google is even bothering creating another platform, one that in some ways competes with Chromecast. Apparently, Google wants to cover all their bases, and by offering a more robust platform — one that also includes video gaming — television manufacturers will have a product they can rally behind. But it might be a tough sell considering all those that were burned by Google’s initial Google TV offering.

In the end, exactly who is willing to give Google another chance will likely be revealed at Google I/O, and we’re excited to see Pichai and the Android team put a little heat on Amazon and their newly launched Fire TV.


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Nest recalls 440,000 units, says ads will not be on their thermostats Thu, 22 May 2014 15:14:03 +0000 nest thermostat

Despite Google suggesting smart thermostats could have ads in the future, Google-owned Nest CEO Tony Fadell has come out to nip the fears in the bud — Nest thermostats will NOT be infused with ads. It’s unfortunate that Fadell had to come out and assuage fears of those who let their imagination get the best of them, but it’s hard not to think about the worst when it comes to statements like the one Google made to the SEC.

We imagine Google would definitely put ads everywhere if they could get away with it, though potential backlash and the effects of negative public opinion would likely deter them from ever going too far. Fadell saw fit to remind everyone that although Nest is a Google-owned entity, they are completely and independently controlled by their own internal management team — just as they were before the big acquisition.

It hasn’t been a very pleasant week for Nest thus far, as the company had to recall 440,000 Nest units due to a software feature that has been deemed potentially harmful in the event of emergencies. It was the “Nest Wave” feature, which allowed users to wave their hands to silence a fire or carbon monoxide alarm instead of having to physically interact with it.

Nest’s fear (which is really the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s fear) is that the feature could potentially silence or delay an alarm unintentionally. Nest says they’ve had no reports of damages caused by the feature just yet, but they want to take preventative measures to make sure nothing happens in the future. As such, they are urging existing Nest owners to connect their alarms via WiFi and download the latest update that will disable the Nest Wave feature.

We’re not sure how long it will take this feature to come back, or if it will ever return. But it’s better to be more safe than sorry, so if you have one of these alarms then be sure to grab that update as soon as possible.

[via re/code]

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More AOSP references mention HTC-made “Flounder,” and possible first mentions of Android TV Fri, 09 May 2014 13:48:45 +0000 We’re shaking in our tube socks as we try and brave the tough wait to Google I/O, but bits and pieces of Google’s plans are slowly beginning to take form.

Yesterday we heard of a new device in the Nexus family that may be codenamed “Flounder.” Considering Google has always reserved smaller fish for their tablets we imagine this is the next Nexus Tablet, which rumors suggest will be made by HTC.


More evidence of those beliefs have surfaced today, with an AOSP changelog on line 239 referencing “device/htc/flounder/”. It’s long been said that HTC would reprise their role as a Nexus manufacturer this year, and would do so with either a 7-inch or 8-inch option.

It would be the first Nexus device by the Taiwanese company since the original Nexus One, which is a bit odd considering HTC was the sole OEM to get this Android train rolling. Funnily enough, this would also be HTC’s first tablet since their first two failed attempts back in 2011.

But let’s shift focus to something else very interesting right now — a device codenamed Molly. No, probably not that Molly. More like the species of fish known as Molly. It’s referenced between lines 214 and 237 in the aforementioned changelog document, and mentions updates to set-top box related code, as well as Discretix, a top DRM solution for video platforms.

More evidence — down by lines 3664 and 3790 — mentions BeMote, Ethernet functionality, Pano and NVIDIA-related goodness. Could this be the forthcoming Android TV (aka, Google TV done the right way) we’ve all been waiting for? Let’s take a look.

Android TV Movies

BeMote could be related to whatever remote you’ll be using with the device. The changelog makes frequent mentions to a microphone on BeMote, so it’s possible it could be equipped with voice-related features.

Pano sounds like it’ll be the name of the new TV-optimized user interface Google will put atop Android. What’s important about the references to ethernet? Ethernet functionality only makes sense on a device like a set-top box. And all the NVIDIA stuff could suggest Google’s reference device for Android TV will run on Tegra.

Of course, we’re piecing all of this together as loosely as you would stringed popcorn on a Christmas tree, so it’s possible we’re off the mark on some of it. All of this coming to light makes sense, though, as Google gears up for what should be an exciting Google I/O late next month.

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Samsung HomeSync set-top box available for $99 at Best Buy [DEAL] Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:51:47 +0000 homesync

Another hot deal is on tap for you folks this morning, with Best Buy putting Samsung’s HomeSync set-top box on sale for $99. That’s a massive price drop from the typical $299.99 it’s offered for. HomeSync hooks up with your Galaxy smartphone or tablet so you can easily upload your photos and video to its 1TB of on-board storage (which you then play back on your TV for the whole family to enjoy).

Many were already of the opinion that HomeSync was overpriced, even if it did come with a whopper of a hard drive. After all, it is just a big box with a simplified TouchWiz interface that allows you to playback photos, video and music.

Unfortunately for Samsung, it’s tough to sell a $300 box when many people have no problem taking to the cloud or using streaming services to get their content over devices like the $35 Chromecast or the $99 Amazon Fire TV (and it also doesn’t help that it doesn’t work with anything but their own devices). Be sure to find it at Best Buy here if you think you can find some use for it.

[via SlickDeals]

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Amazon Fire TV gaming controller backordered until May 11th Mon, 07 Apr 2014 13:44:38 +0000 20140403_122930WM

Looking to buy an Amazon Fire TV with the partial purpose of playing games soon? Unfortunately you won’t be able to play games that require the gaming controller for quite some time, as the company has placed it on backorder until May 11th.

It’s tough to say whether this means gaming on the Fire TV is extremely popular or if Amazon had a shortage to begin with. It’d be great news if the former scenario were true, as that would indicate Amazon’s gaming initiative has a good chance of taking off.

Fortunately, not all of Amazon’s games will require the gaming controller. Some can be played using the remote controller that ships with the Fire TV by default, so don’t be afraid to buy one now and get your gaming controller later. Note that you can also order your controller right now, though it won’t ship until May 11th (and you won’t be charged until that happens). Read our first impressions of Amazon Fire TV right here, and jump over to Amazon if you decide to purchase one.


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Google’s upcoming Android TV leaks, plans to be your entertainment hub Sat, 05 Apr 2014 20:09:59 +0000 Android TV

Shortly after Chromecast’s launch last July, Sundar Pichai in an interview with AllThingsD talking about Chromecast stated that something like Google TV was more of a high end system for applications and gaming, while Chromecast was on the low end for streaming. Over the past year, Google TV set top boxes have seen very little on the update front while Android TV or Nexus TV reports continued to churn at the rumor mill. Today, The Verge has obtained exclusive evidence that Android TV is real and that Google plans to make Android TV your go to entertainment hub.

Android TV aims to pick up where Google TV failed, by making the living room experience “cinematic, fun, fluid, and fast”. Google wants the Android TV UI to be something more than a modified smartphone user interface and a separate computing platform, aligning with other set top boxes such as Roku, Apple TV, or even the newly announced Fire TV from Amazon. The Android TV UI will consist of scrolling cards that represent content for TV shows, movies, music, apps, and games. You’ll interact with your Android TV by using a four way directional pad on your remote control, an optional game controller, or voice input.

Android TV Apps

Google plans to stand out from other manufacturers by putting “the Google” into Android TV. Instead of always having to browse through content, trying to find something to watch, play, or listen to, Google’s entertainment hub will proactively recommend things for you to do right on the home screen. This almost sounds similar to the Listen Now feature of Google Play Music, but for more than just music. Google also plans to harness their cloud syncing capabilities, allowing you to resume content you started watching on your smartphone or tablet. Google wants living room goers to never be more than 3 clicks or gestures away from getting exactly what they want.

Android TV Movies

As for apps, according to The Verge and the images above, we see that Play Movies, Play Music, YouTube, Hangouts, are available. We also see that big hitters such as Songza, Pandora, Hulu, Vevo, and Netflix are in the pipeline as well. Google is encouraging developers to optimize their applications for a consistent living room experience, focusing on simplicity.

What’s this mean for Chromecast? Seeing as the $35 dongle just launched in other parts of the world, it seems Chromecast has a niche of it’s own to fill as originally stated by Sundar last summer. It is a little odd that Google would want developers to focus on yet another platform, but it’s still way too early to tell as we have very little information on this subject.

We’ll be keeping an eye out over the next few months leading up to Google IO in June. Chances are we’ll hear a lot more about Android TV and the fate of Chromecast then.

Source: The Verge

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Pick up the ASUS Cube for only $30 (after $20 rebate) [CRAZY DEALS] Fri, 04 Apr 2014 20:53:17 +0000 ASUS Cube side angle

For those looking to add a little smarts to their television experience can now find the ASUS Cube (version 2) on Groupon for only $50. For those unaware, that’s about half-off. But the 50% discount is only half the story — as tipped by the folks at Fatwallet you can receive an additional $20 off via manufacturer rebate direct from ASUS. When all is said and done, that brings the Google TV equipped device down to Chromecast-like pricing at $30. Yikes!

ASUS Cube ports and remote

Groupon limits purchases to only 3 per person, and is only available for the next 11 days, or while supplies last. Also something to keep in mind, the ASUS’ rebate promotion ends on April 30th, so make sure you don’t waste any time sending it in. The coolest part? The ASUS Cube features HDMI passthrough, meaning you don’t have to switch inputs when switching from live television, to Netflix, Crunchyroll or web browsing. The Roku, Chromecast, and Amazon Fire TV can’t beat that. Full details can be found in the links below, and if you’re still on the fence, don’t forget to check out our ASUS Cube review here.

[ASUS Cube on Groupon | ASUS rebate form]

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